LONDON: British actress Emma Watson on Wednesday received an online backlash and was accused of antisemitism by Israeli officials for her social media post in solidarity with Palestine.
Watson, known for starring in the “Harry Potter” series, had shared a post on her instagram page on Monday showing her solidarity with the Palestinian cause.
Watson’s statement was widely praised by Palestinains and activists, but she received harsher treatment from Israeli officials. Danny Danon, Israel’s former permanent representative to the UN, retweeted her post with the caption: “10 points from Gryffindor for being an antisemite.”
— Ambassador Danny Danon (@dannydanon) January 3, 2022
Meanwhile, the current Isareli Ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, suggested Watson is colluding with Hamas who are “oppressing women.”
“Fiction may work in Harry Potter but it does not work in reality,” Erdan said, adding: “If it did, the magic used in the wizarding world could eliminate the evils of Hamas (which oppresses women and seeks the annihilation of Israel) and the Palestinian Authority (which supports terror). I would be in favour of that!”
Danon’s comments were met with stern criticism, including from the Arab Center for Social Media Advancement (7amleh). "The backlash Watson received is a microcosm of Israel’s ongoing and systemic targeting of Palestinian and pro-Palestinian content and human rights advocates in the digital world," a spokesperson from 7amleh told Arab News.
"Israeli organised smear campaigns against Palestinian and pro-Palestinian activists, human rights defenders and organisations have been ongoing for years, seriously endangering their safety and shrinking the space for their crucial human rights work as well as their basic freedom of speech and expression," they added.
"This is evident in the recent Israeli attack on Palestinian civil society after it designated 6 prominent Palestinian human rights organisations as "terrorist" organisations, seriously endangering their workers and stifling their work."
Watson’s Instagram photo, a repost from the Bad Activist Collective’s account, depicted people marching and holding “Free Palestine” posters. One placard read: “Solidarity is a verb.”
The post was accompanied by a quote from feminist scholar Sara Ahmed: “Solidarity does not assume that our struggles are the same struggles, or that our pain is the same pain, or that our hope is for the same future.
“Solidarity involves commitment, and work, as well as the recognition that even if we do not have the same feelings, or the same lives, or the same bodies, we do live on common ground.”
Watson’s comment was highly praised by Palestinian activists, including Mohammed Al-Kurd, who tweeted: “The Israeli Ambassador to the UN calls Emma Watson an ‘anti-Semite’ for posting ‘solidarity is a verb,’ a week after Zionists smeared Desmond Tutu as ‘anti-Jewish.’ How is this not satire?”
The Israeli Ambassador to the UN calls Emma Watson an “anti-Semite” for posting “solidarity is a verb,” a week after Zionists smeared Desmond Tutu as “anti-Jewish.”
How is this not satire? https://t.co/33wgxsZte3
— Mohammed El-Kurd (@m7mdkurd) January 3, 2022
Elsewhere, Husam Zomlot, head of the Palestinian mission to the UK, praised Watson for her post, saying: “Solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for liberation and justice is a human and moral duty on all freedom loving people. Thank you to Emma Watson.
Following the flareup of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict last May, various celebrities voiced their opinions on the cause, including Bella Hadid and Malala Yousafzai.
Hadid, whose father is Palestinian, posted a message of support for Palestinians on her Instagram account that said: “Future generations will look back in disbelief and wonder how we allowed the Palestinian suffering to continue for so long. A human tragedy unfolding right in front of our eyes.”